The 2013-2014 Houston Rockets have played 18% of their schedule and currently sit at 10-5 heading into Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. As I look at their record, and recall watching the games, and then read the articles and blogs I keep wondering: Whats Wrong! Houston does not have a problem. If you extrapolate the squads win total over an 82 game schedule the Rockets will end up with 54.6 (so 55) wins. In the last five full seasons in the tough Western Conference 55 wins gets you a second seed twice, a fifth seed twice, and a sixth seed once. Meaning: being on the road to 55 wins is not something to lament about. While I understand that higher expectations bring about the nit-picking I have seen, see below for an example, I still believe the commentary should be more positive. While the Rockets have blown big leads( 76ers, Mavericks), they have also come back from down big against Memphis, so we are only minus one in that category. So maybe the Rockets should be 11-4, and maybe you could even make the case that they should not have lost to the depleted Lakers but even great teams have let downs. Don't get me wrong: I would have loved to have at least split with the Clips, beat the Kobe-less(soul-less) Lakers, and not blown those other two games while still keeping the comeback and be undefeated, but let's be reasonable.
Now on to the nit-picking. I read a topic up for discussion earlier questioning the Rockets team IQ. Everyone of those guys have a high basketball IQ: Period. Even if they don't have a high overall IQ, they have a high basketball IQ. They wouldn't be playing in the NBA if they didn't. Those aptitudes that were pointed out;Lin's passing, Harden and Jones instincts, Parsons ability to get open on cuts; are all examples of high basketball IQ. They have practiced so much that they know how to do those things. There are not many players who are great at everything. Not doing everything at an elite level does not equate to low basketball IQ. It just means that you play with a whole league of players with a high basketball IQ trying to achieve the same thing. Howard defends and rebounds like a beast, Harden scores at will, Lin throws lasers around and attacks, Asik does the same things as Howard minus the scoring, Parsons never stops moving(which is a skill), who knows where Jones potential lies but I'm interested. This team just needs time together to jell. It's really a shame Asik is so unhappy because having him, to me, is more valuable than a potential competitor having him.
Also, Jeremy Lin went to Harvard, and while it's not MIT, you have to be pretty bright to go to school there and I'm pretty sure that intelligence transfers to the court.
Great teams need time to get into a great rhythm, another reason I want to stand pat with Asik as the defensive force of the second team, and there are 67 games to achieve great chemistry and even higher team IQ. I see the early blown leads as necessary to building the killer edge needed to compete for championships. Nothing hurts worse than losing a game you had in the bag, and with experience comes the knowledge to keep these things from repeating. There will be growing pains going forward, but I think this team is ahead of schedule and if they end up with 55 wins then it is a 10 game improvement from last year. I look forward to watching a fun, young, good squad go from middle of the pack into a dominant team. What do you think?